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Acrylics and Brushes

Updated on January 24, 2017
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed enjoys and relaxes with her hobby of painting portraits with acrylic paints. Then writes about what she has learned.

Acrylic Painting of the Sea

By the Sea
By the Sea | Source

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are very versatile because they can be used to create the characteristics of water color, acrylic, and oil paints.

  • Add water to a little dab of acrylic and you will have the consistency necessary for the open and transparent watery form which defines water color painting.
  • Use the paint as it is from the tube or jar container.
  • Layer and layer to get the thickness of cover as seen in oil paints.

Experimenting with these paints will illustrate the amazing characteristics of acrylic paints which will allow these three different techniques for creating portraits and landscaping. Both artists and craftsmen enjoy the qualities of this paint.

A Rainbow of Colors

Acrylics are available in primary colors, nudes, and premixed tints of various hues.
Acrylics are available in primary colors, nudes, and premixed tints of various hues. | Source

Qualities of Acrylic Paints

  1. Quick drying
  2. Easy cleanup washing brushes and equipment with soap and water
  3. No strong chemical odors
  4. No need for harsh chemical thinners.
  5. These paints will adhere to any type of paper, cardboard, wood, glass, or other surfaces. It is a very multipurpose paint for many crafts.
  6. Acrylics are known for their permanence which will outlast water colors and oils. For added protection from dust and fingerprints use a fix-it agent. Drawings and paintings may be stored for a long time without fear of fading or cracking. The paint itself is flexible.

Artists Paints

A selection of artists paints and supplies.
A selection of artists paints and supplies. | Source

Student and Artist or ProfessionalGrade

There are two types of qualities or grades of acrylic paints - student and artist or professional grade. Beginners and low budgets may wish to start with the student quality. Advanced and more experienced artists will want to upgrade to the artist or professional grade quality.

The main difference between the two qualities is the amount of pigment and fillers. The artist grade or professional quality is the better of the two for color intensity, paint thickness, easier mixing and application.

Both categories of paints are available in kits or packaged individually in tubes or jar containers.

The Paint Palette

Mixing paint colors.
Mixing paint colors. | Source

Mixing Colors

Premixed paints can be purchased; however, there are advantages to mixing your own colors.

Use any type of plastic for the palette. Water will be used to dilute the paint and for this reason plastic is recommended. Select a small amount of each of the primary colors as well as black and white.

Apply the primary colors to the palette with a separating distance approximately two inches.

Put a dab of red on a clean area, then add a dab of blue and mix together. Purple will be the result. Adding white will increase the lighter shades resulting from purple and adding black will show the darker shades of purple.

It is worth the time and effort to mix and match the different primary colors to discover the variety of tints which can be created. This will give you a greater selection of tints. Create a color chart of favorites with their measurements for future reference. The most challenging tints to make are flesh tones.

How to Varnish your acrylic painting Tips and Tricks

Protecting Acrylic Paintings

Acrylic paints have proven to last longer than watercolors and oils. To help extend the life of the paintings use a fix-it agent. It also discourages dust and fingertip markings.

Acrylic paints are permanent and have a longer storage life without fear of fading, cracking, or lifting. The paint is flexible.

Store paintings in a cool environment as they are not hot-heat tolerant. Thick acrylics will soften and become tacky. Should you accidentally experience this problem, place the objects in a cooler environment. The paint will cool down; the objects will release themselves, and can be removed without damage.

Do not stack pictures face to face in hot attics or hot garages. Do not hang paintings in bright sunlight.

Paint Brushes Display

Displaying a variety of paint brushes.
Displaying a variety of paint brushes. | Source

Professional Paint Brushes

Synthetic brushes are the choice bristled tool for working with acrylics. These brushes have white bristles.

Professional brushes are a key secret for successful artwork. Your artwork will look very refined and produce a finished work of art. Who would want a canvas with misplaced hair strands, unwanted scratches, uneven paint layers and other defects?

Art critics are able to distinguish one artist from another with their brush strokes. Your brushstrokes do dictate your style and are your signature in your landscaping, portrait, and other works of art.

When you are sitting with other people and all are painting the same object, step back and review the paints. It is interesting to note how each painting looks different. It is the brushstrokes. No two signatures are alike.

The hand of every artist will draw or paint in a different way because of the pressure of the pencil and the application of paint as it is swept across the canvas.

Types of brush strokes will include light, medium, and heavy. Paint may be applied in the same direction. Techniques of interweaving, circular movements, rolling, turning, and twisting, stippling, and mixing and matching may be used.

To this list can be added scumbling which is created with very little paint on the brush. Dark shades of paint skip between lighter shades as created by the brush hairs. This is a very popular technique used for hair in portrait paints.

There are basic brushing techniques to learn and each artist will use their personal methods or favorite strokes. One thing is very clear, it pays to purchase professional brushes. You will find it very frustrating when you are not able to paint a straight line or to create a streak free blending or other fine techniques.

Regardless of being a beginner or an advanced artist painting with acrylics or oils are much easier with the appropriate professional brush.

Clean Brush True Color

A clean brush captures the true rich color of the paint.
A clean brush captures the true rich color of the paint. | Source

Paint Brush Care

  1. Do not throw away inexpensive or professional brushes. They may still have use when experimenting and creating different types of effects.
  2. Brush hairs that are stiff or separated can be utilized for painting shrubbery and grasses.
  3. Utilize a worn out brush. Use old brushes to scoop and mix paints. Use lesser quality brushes for practicing new technique or effects.
  4. Save brushes for a longer life with proper cleaning, drying, and storage.
  5. Acrylic brushes are usually washed with water. No need for harsh chemicals.
  6. Clean brush after each use in readiness for another color of paint.

Cleaning and Care of Paint Brushes:

  1. Dip brush in water and shake gently before dipping brush into paint. After applying selected paint, rinse brush with water. Acrylic paints dry quickly, therefore clean your brushes immediately after use with soap and water.
  2. Do not overload the brush to where it covers the metal part of the handle. It is difficult to remove paint from the metal.
  3. To remove stubborn dry paint from the bristles soak in fabric softener, rinse, and wash with soap and water.
  4. Do not soak brushes in water for long periods of time.
  5. After cleaning brushes, remove excess water and store flat on paper towels to continue drying process.
  6. Store pointed brushes with their protective tip covers.

Student Grade vs Artist Grade Paint - How to Choose Paints

Oil Painting vs Acrylic Painting

Do you prefer oil or acrylic paints?

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